DEI DIGEST BY: Guest-Blogger Malon Hood & DEI Committee

As a woman, who’s black, and has a disability, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is very important to me. I love to see DEI being represented everywhere I go. Unfortunately, it isn’t, usually I’m the one at the table representing the three characters that make me who I am. When you don’t see people who look like or share in common aspects as you including, in the workforce, on various boards, councils, and commission and, everyday circumstances, it become disheartening. Differences is what the world so unique. Enhancing DEI can only bring make life better for everyone. Today’s guest-blogger Malon Hood Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley’s DEI Facilitator, and the DEI Committee is committed to making sure DEI is and remains implemented in the organization. Lend them your attention as they share their thoughts on this important issue.



In today’s business world, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are often treated as buzzwords that typically amount to little more than a mandatory annual training. But the reality is, when you make DEI a priority, every facet of your organization benefits, including the bottom line. Programs that push for these initiatives are an essential aspect of building engaged and happy employees. Organizations with strong diversity climates are more likely to have employees with increased job satisfaction, higher levels of trust, and are more engaged. Organizations that don’t implement DEI practices miss out on opportunities to tap into their peoples’ potential.

When discussing DEI, it is easy to assume that it relates to race or gender, but it is so much more. Diversity is the collective of differences and similarities that includes individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, and behaviors. The many identities that we carry makes up who we are and how we perform. Not only does diversity produce creative and innovative ideas but it contributes to a wide range of skill sets that a company may have as a whole.


But don’t just take my word for it, here’s what DEI Committee member had to say:

“My passion for DEI has been a part of who I am since childhood.  I grew up living in a part of Dayton that was racially integrated.  It was not until the end of 5th grade when we moved to a predominantly white, small town, that I realized that I had been in a pocket of integration that unfortunately did not reflect most of the surrounding areas.  Although my skin matched my new peers, my views on diversity did not.  Despite being an introverted child who rarely spoke up, I began to speak out about the hate language of my peers.  “Do not say that word around me!”  I had to sneak out a different door when leaving school that day and walk home an alternative route to avoid a physical confrontation from the student who had used the “N” word in front of me.  I never fit into this white community, and didn’t want to.

During my teenage years, I started to question my sexual orientation.  This only increased the feelings of not fitting in, furthering my isolation.  Isolation turned into depression which turned into suicidal ideation (not uncommon for LGBTQ youth).  So, I know firsthand how hurtful lack of inclusion and stigma based on difference can be.

Being the mother of a 10 year old biracial/bi-cultural child also impacts my commitment to DEI.  My wife and I have watched her slowly become aware of her differences from the majority of her peers.  By design, we live in Yellow Springs, which helps as there are a number of children who are bi-racial and/or the children of same-ex couples, but living in Yellow Springs only slightly reduces the DEI issues she experiences”.

“As an agency, we focus on giving a hand up to those who need it, but how do we as individuals keep the company moving towards that goal? Diversity, equity, and inclusion is about creating an environment where everyone feels as though they are safe, important, and thriving, and where our different abilities and experiences are not only tolerated but embraced. It is about lifting one another up to our highest potential, using our strengths to lend a hand to those whose starting line didn’t match up with ours so that we can all reach the finish line together. Participating in the D.E.I Committee, it is my hope that we can encourage that mind set in those around us and create a workplace where everyone is free to be authentically themselves and feels like the important and valued piece they are of this huge team!” ~Matt Hafer


One comment on “DEI DIGEST BY: Guest-Blogger Malon Hood & DEI Committee

  1. Monae Dawson on

    This read is very informative. Thank you to both you Shari and Malon. I had very little knowledge of DEI before this past year. I’m so grateful for the freedom of choice in this country. We have the option to work where we want, live as we want, love who we choose to love and to believe in whom/what we so desire. No two lives look the same and therefore our walk, talk, dreams, goals, faith, sexual preferences, favorite colors, etc. may not meet other’s expectations and that’s okay. That’s what beautifies this earth. My faith looks nothing like most yet, I hope to be treated no differently in my choice of a higher power…JESUS! My faith says encourages love and forgiveness so that I’m unconditionally loved and forgiven. I have made a choice to accept people from all walks of life, show them the love that I experience everyday, and to do unto others as I want to have done unto me. I hope that we as a company and a nation will continue forward in diversity, equity, and inclusion. I’m reminded of a Jamaican friend who use to often say to me when the bad times seemed overwhelming “Everything makes up life darling, everything makes life”. Meaning without all the diversity, equity, and inclusion…life doesn’t exist;) there must be a push and a pull, an up and a down, an in and an out, a yes and a no, and a 1st and a last.


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